Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.

On this day in 1971: KKK bombs empty Pontiac buses set to racially integrate schools

By: - August 30, 2021

On Aug. 30, 1971, 10 idled Pontiac School District buses were destroyed by Ku Klux Klan members. Dynamite was the weapon.   Black- and silver-haired Kevin Davidson, 61, remembers it like yesterday.  He was 11 when his African-American family moved to Pontiac from Detroit 50 years ago. They lived in the newly constructed and predominantly Black […]

On this day in 1952: ‘Scottsboro Boy’ Haywood Patterson dies in Michigan

By: - August 24, 2021

Haywood Patterson, one of the “Scottsboro Boys” found guilty in a Jim Crow-era criminal trial, died 69 years ago on Aug. 24, 1952. He was 39.  The one-time Detroit resident had been stricken with cancer. Patterson’s life ended while serving a separate manslaughter conviction in Jackson, Mich., prison. Patterson was born in rural Georgia on […]

State reports 3,920 new COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths since Friday

By: - August 23, 2021

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Monday that a total of 933,394 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 20,123 have died from the virus — an additional 3,920 cases and 10 deaths since Friday. The new numbers combine Friday, Saturday and Sundays recorded cases and deaths, with an average of […]

On this day in 1954: Ralph Bunche is named to key UN post

By: - August 19, 2021

On Aug. 19, 1954, Detroit-born Ralph Bunche was named United Nations undersecretary.  Founded in 1945 after World War II to replace the League of Nations, the U.N. was designed to prevent war between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue. Bunche, who played a key role in the creation of the organization, was the […]

On this day in 1967: First African American becomes Michigan state trooper

By: - August 18, 2021

On Aug. 18, 1967, Jack Hall was sworn in as a Michigan State Police (MSP) trooper. He was the first African American to serve in that capacity.  MSP was founded in 1917.  Prior to his service as a trooper, Hall had been a Benton Harbor police officer for five years and had completed one year […]

Detroit, state leaders promote 3rd COVID-19 shot for the immunocompromised

By: - August 16, 2021

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan on Monday announced the city will reopen TCF Center as a COVID-19 vaccination site for people who have compromised immune systems. The city, Duggan said, is armed with 30,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. The move comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday approved […]

On this day in 1889: Pioneering Black lawmaker pushes back against racism

By: - August 15, 2021

On Aug. 15, 1889, William Ferguson, an African-American man, entered a Detroit restaurant managed by Edward Gies, a white man. After being seated, Ferguson was told by a waiter: “I can’t wait on you here.” Ferguson, who in 1869 became the first Black child to attend the Detroit Public Schools and owned a printing company, […]

Pandemic won’t stop some politicians from attending big Detroit music festival

By: - August 13, 2021

As a popular weekend music festival continues in Detroit, some vaccinated political leaders plan to attend even as the Delta variant is driving COVID-19 cases higher in the state.  Charivari Detroit will be held outdoors at Historic Fort Wayne in Detroit  Thursday through Sunday. Since its inception in 2014, the four-day electronic dance music festival […]

State reports 2,786 new COVID-19 cases, 24 deaths since Monday 

By: - August 11, 2021

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Wednesday that a total of 916,006 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 19,982 have died from the virus — an additional 2,786 cases and 24 deaths since Monday. The state is only reporting COVID-19 data on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays each week. The new […]

Voting rights activists in Detroit call out GOP ‘suppression’ efforts

By: - August 11, 2021

Seven-year-old Kaylee Armour is too young to vote, but she encourages others to do so. When asked by the Advance Tuesday if voting is important, Armour said emphatically: “Yes.”   The Detroit resident and her mother, Nicole Denson, were part of the dozens who rallied Tuesday evening at New Center Plaza One in Detroit to speak […]

Detroiters celebrate Black Bottom historical marker 

By: - August 9, 2021

Harold McLemore, 93, grew up in the community known as Black Bottom and told the Advance he was pleased to see a Michigan Historical Marker finally placed at the legendary site. “I feel good,” said McLemore, pointing to where his childhood home, 1236 Rivard Street, once sat only a few hundred feet away.  A few […]

Early COVID-19 vax skeptic changes her mind: ‘Our family was making this decision’ 

By: - August 6, 2021

Jennifer Smith was planted firmly in the COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy camp during the winter of 2020-21.  She was skeptical of the arrival of the federal government-led vaccine process. After all, the 44-year-old African American Grambling State University graduate remembered learning about the infamous Tuskegee Experiment, where the federal government injected Blacks — some unknowingly — […]